Indicative Land Release Program 2018-19 to 2021-22

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The ACT Government's Indicative Land Release Program aims to make sure enough land is released to the market to cater for Canberra's growth and change.

Each year the Government publishes a four-year program of land releases to supply the residential, community, commercial and industrial sectors to meet the demands of a growing population and to stimulate economic growth. The program is reviewed annually and is subject to change as market conditions evolve and Government priorities are adjusted.

The Program is informed by a number of Government policy initiatives and aligns with the Government's strategic priorities for infrastructure, economic development and social inclusion.

The Program enables Government to deliver our strategic planning directions for building a sustainable, compact, well connected city, promote housing choice and affordability, and attract international investment.

The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate is responsible for preparing the Program in consultation with other ACT Government directorates. The Suburban Land Agency and City Renewal Authority deliver the programmed land releases.

Land release contributes to the financial, social and environmental objectives of the Territory by:

  • promoting housing diversity and delivering affordable housing choices;
  • stimulating urban renewal and activating key gateways to the City and commercial centres;
  • maintaining an appropriate inventory of land in the planning, land development and building pipeline;
  • meeting the demand for land in the Territory across all sectors, and attracting investment to diversify the Territory's economy;
  • assisting the operation of a competitive land development and construction industry; and
  • achieving satisfactory revenue returns to Government from the sale of unleased Territory land and surplus property assets.

The 2018-19 to 2021-22 Indicative Land Release Program continues new suburban land releases in three districts. This includes Gungahlin in the north, with residential releases in five suburbs and significant releases in the Town Centre. The centrally located Molonglo Valley will have releases in suburbs on both sides of the Molonglo River, including Canberra's newest suburb Whitlam, located on the north bank. There will also be further releases in the emerging suburb of Strathnairn to the west of Belconnen.


Canberra's population is currently growing at around 7,000 people each year and this growth is expected to continue over the four years of the program.

By 2022, it is estimated nearly 30,000 more residents will call Canberra home. This growth is estimated to generate an underlying demand for at least 12,000 additional new dwellings over the four years of the Program, or on average approximately 3,000 new dwelling sites each year.

Over the next four years the residential land release program targets the release of 17,000 dwelling sites to cater for housing demand across the Territory. 4,060 dwelling sites are scheduled for release in 2018-19, including 1,400 single residential and compact blocks available in Gungahlin (Taylor and Throsby), Molonglo Valley (Wright and Whitlam) and Belconnen (Strathnairn).

For the subsequent three years of the Program the residential release targets are: 4,250 for 2019-20, 4,280 for 2020-21, and 4,410 dwelling sites for 2021-22.

The Government's focus on urban renewal creates opportunities for new residential developments in established areas across the city. In 2018-19 the majority of medium and high density residential releases are on sites in Griffith, Lyneham, Narrabundah and Lyons. These are the remaining properties scheduled for sale as part of the Asset Recycling Initiative and will deliver more than 1,800 new apartments in prime locations near Manuka shops, along Northbourne Avenue and near Woden Town Centre. From 2019-20 the focus of urban renewal will shift to the City and the Kingston-Eastlake urban renewal area.


The first release of land in Canberra's newest suburb Whitlam is programmed in 2018-19. Named after former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the suburb Whitlam is also the first northern suburb of Molonglo Valley. The suburb is located 8.5km from the Canberra CBD, 4.5km to Belconnen town centre and is bounded by William Hovell Drive and accessed via John Gorton Drive.

Residential blocks in the Stage 1 release at Whitlam are designed to cater for a wide range of buyers by offering a variety of block sizes ranging from 150m2 to 1,000m2. This will allow for a range of housing types to encourage affordability and a demographic mix within the estate.

Whitlam is designed with consideration of the natural features of the landscape, including the topography of the site, Deep Creek, the Molonglo River to the south, and Karma Nature Reserve to the west. These features combine to deliver planning and design that creates unique villages within the suburb, as well as capture views of the Brindabella Ranges, Black Mountain, the National Arboretum and Capital Hill.

Land is identified for release in future stages of Whitlam for a local center and government school (2021-22).

Affordable, community and public housing

The Government has an objective of meeting the housing needs of all Canberrans.

To achieve this objective, the Government identifies Public, Community and Affordable Housing Targets for residential releases in greenfield estates and on identified urban renewal sites. Housing Targets are a new statutory requirement introduced in 2017 as part of the Government's establishment of the Suburban Land Agency and City Renewal Authority.

For 2018-19 the Government has set a target of 552 dedicated public, community and affordable dwelling sites. This target is made up of 472 individual dwelling sites for dedicated affordable home purchase to eligible low income households and is comprised of a high proportion of compact blocks for individually titled terrace or town house type homes. In addition the Government has identified 60 public housing dwelling sites and 20 community housing sites for release.

Mixed use

Mixed use commercial releases enable a combination of commercial and residential uses within a single building.

The release of these sites reflects the Government's strong focus on creating a sustainable, efficient city by encouraging residential living opportunities in commercial centres and along transport corridors. Mixed use development opportunities are scheduled for release in Lyneham and Wright (2018-19), Gungahlin Town Centre (each year from 2018-19), Belconnen Town Centre (from 2018-19), Woden Town Centre (2019-20), Coombs (from 2019-20), Kingston – Eastlake urban renewal area (from 2020-21), as well as in Parkes (2020-21), with the potential for a major new university campus in the Canberra CBD.

236,990m2 of mixed use land is programmed for release over the next four years.

Macarthur Village

Over the next four years the Program delivers opportunities for new development and renewal along the entire length of the Gungahlin to City light rail network.

In 2018-19 a landmark mixed use development site in Lyneham is scheduled for release providing the opportunity to activate this node and create a new urban village. The Macarthur Urban Village is expected to become a distinct destination on the light rail network, with design criteria set out in the City and Gateway Draft Urban Design Framework.

Gungahlin town centre

Rapid expansion of the Gungahlin Town Centre, driven by population growth in surrounding suburbs and the Government's investment in the light rail network is also driving strong demand for higher density living in the town centre.

With limited releases for residential mixed use developments in previous years, this is an emerging market with evidence of steady demand.

As at the March quarter of 2018 more than 1,500 multi unit dwellings were in the developer's pipeline either in planning or under construction. To maintain a pipeline of supply, significant commercial core, mixed use commercial sites including more than 1,200 multi unit dwellings sites and community land releases are proposed over the next four years to provide more employment, facilities and services to support Canberra's fast growing northern district.


In line with investment in the light rail network, the remaining commercial core development site in the Gungahlin town centre is programmed for release in 2019-20, with an adjacent commercial business site on Flemington Road scheduled for release in 2020-21.

A number of commercial mixed use development sites in the Gungahlin Town Centre are also programmed for release over the coming years.

The first land release in the Molonglo commercial centre is anticipated in 2020-21 to provide conveniently located shops and service outlets as Molonglo Valley becomes one of the fastest growing areas in Australia.

Local centre land releases are scheduled for Taylor (2020-21) and Whitlam (2021-22) to provide local shops for residents in these new suburbs. Commercial land releases to develop the Moncrieff group centre are also being prepared for release in the near future to provide for a full line supermarket and a range of retail, commercial and community facilities.

Commercial releases in the existing group centres in Mawson (2020-21) and Wanniassa (Erindale) (2021-22), will also deliver opportunities for additional commercial and retail uses. In 2018-19 the Government will dispose of a surplus property site in Charnwood that will enable an opportunity for a small commercial development. Commercial releases in the City (2019-20) reflect the remaining sites for sale to the Australian National University (ANU) as part of the ANU Exchange – a collaboration between the ANU and the ACT Government.

The four-year target for commercial land release is 117,500m2.

Community and non-urban

Land releases for new schools make the largest contribution to community land releases over the next four years. Three new government school sites are proposed for Gungahlin (2020-21), West Belconnen (2020-21) and Molonglo Valley (Whitlam, 2021-22).

A non-government school site in Wright (2018-19) will be released through an Expression of Interest to provide for a transparent, competitive and accountable process that will deliver value to the whole community.

For aged care releases, the Government uses a demand model to estimate the number of dwellings and bed placements required to meet the needs of our ageing population and guide the release of land for residential aged care and retirement living. Two sites in Gungahlin Town Centre are identified for residential aged care developments in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Sites in Monash (2018-19) and Calwell (2020-21) are opportunities for small scale retirement living developments, or other community uses.

A number of community sites suitable for the development of a range of community uses are available for release over the four-year Program in new and established suburbs across Canberra including Coombs, Wright and Amaroo (2018-19), Moncrieff and Wright (2019-20), Taylor (2020-21) and Gungahlin Town Centre (2021-22). A community site in O'Malley is also being re-investigated for release in the near future.

Over the next four years 333,000m2 of community land is programmed for release.

Stromlo Forest Park

A further highlight in the coming years is the Government's intention to seek Expressions of Interest for an exciting opportunity to determine the next stage of development of Stromlo Forest Park. With demand continuing to grow for a world-class active recreation park from the local, national and international community, the site has the capacity to expand and increase the range and type of facilities to enhance the overall visitor experience to the Park.

Located within a 15 minute drive from the Canberra CBD, Stromlo Forest Park is a world-class active recreation park offering facilities for running, walking, mountain biking and road cycling. With trails and tracks for all levels, as well as a criterium cycling circuit and event pavilion, the park is the perfect cycling destination for professionals and rookies alike.

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